I have a 50 yr old ranch. My basement is approx. 70ft. x 30ft and is 8ft deep. There is a beam (4 - 2" x 12"s) that run the length of the basement in the middle that are supported by 5 support (load bearing) posts. I would like to take out the 3 center posts as we are building a recreational room. I understand I need to replace with something. What can I use to replace them with??
note: if it were a new house I would have used a steel I - beam.
Before you undertake any changes to your basement it's necessary to involve a structural engineer. You should note the support posts you refer to are sitting on separate footings beneath the basement floor. Relocating the posts, presuming that could be done without compromising the house's structural integrity, would require breaking the floor in the new location and pouring new footings. In any case you should get a permit and have an engineer sign off on any plan.
Renovations Done Right.
The previous posting is correct in that a structural engineer would have specify the steel beam size, support posts for the new point loads and size of footings. The engineer will require existing building information in order to complete the necessary drawings. We have undertaken many basement beam replacements, the longest being 22 lf. While not complicated there is a great deal of planning and care involved. As in all of our projects, the engineer will likely specify a steel beam (we use two C channels that would be bolted together with mending plates as they are much easier to handle especially in the case of basements), two new structural steel posts (as the new beam was not sitting on foundation structure) that sat on two new large footings to support the new point load.
Temporary structural support has to be erected on each side of the existing beam to temporarily displace the existing load. Care must be exercised to lift the load slowly to ensure you do not damage the finishes on the floor above. In addition, it is most likely that the joists are not all level and as the steel beam is straight, shimming will be required to ensure all joists are well supported on the new beam.
In selecting a contractor for the job, ensure that they have taken similar jobs such as the one you are contemplating and is well versed in this area and follows the specifications of the structural engineer exactly.
Kingsway Construction Inc.
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